LTC on school premises in Texas

I am a lawyer in Texas (though not a criminal lawyer) and I have been researching this issue in Texas considerably or the past few months (for my own purposes) when my school’s administration seemed to have incorrect assumptions about how this all works. I found USCCA’s summary page inadequate and I discussed with their support long enough to realize they didn’t understand the issue and they suggested I contact one of the USCCA attorneys. I looked for one in my area who dealt primarily with weapons crimes and didn’t find any - all the ones I looked at were general criminal lawyers, not specializing in gun crimes. So, I found the leading gun crime attorney in this area and it turns out he was associated with US Law Shield. In any event, he turned out to be a lobbyist who was quite active in the recent legislative changes in Texas in this area and was quite informative.

I am shocked by how confusing these laws can be and also how wrong and ill informed most everyone opining on these issues can be - even orgs like USCCA or schools or law enforcement themselves. There’s really no substitute for talking to a lawyer with your specific situation in mind.

In any event, this is what I’m learning - not legal advice, just conveying research information I’ve gathered for academic purposes…

The first question is whether it violates Federal law…

What I learned was that the general prohibition against guns in schools is the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act. It is a pretty scary proposition even driving by a school with a handgun where it applies. However, it has a very important exception - if a state has LTC, the school it doesn’t apply to LTC holders. This is a primary reason I got my LTC. So, I believe I will not be violating FEDERAL law as an LTC carrier even on campus. But, that’s not the end of the inquiry…

The next question is whether it violates Texas law….

Texas generally prohibits handguns in schools. It provides two notable exceptions - (1) with written permission from the school (regardless of whether you have LTC or not) and (2) LTC carriers ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES (higher education). There is a remaining question whether the consent extends to sporting events and so forth (a separate section of the law) but a recent memo from the Texas Attorney General seems to indicate it does.

My kids’ school wants responsible and armed adults protecting the campus. But, they have only granted written permission to those with specific training. They believe this is a requirement but it is not a legal requirement. It may be a very wise approach, and could well be a requirement for their insurance, but it is not required by the law.

There are two programs that schools in Texas can take advantage of to certify those it wishes to authorize - a “Guardian” program certified by the Texas DPS and a “Marshall” program. I don’t much about the Marshall program, but it is a VERY intensive program that I believe grants LEO rights to a citizen - to arrest and investigate and so forth. But, a “Marshall” can’t carry a weapon if he/she also has regular contact with students as part of their job. So, maybe a facilities guy or a hired security guy or something could utilize this. The “DPS Guardian” program also has pretty intensive situational and pychological weapons/conflict training and looks like a great program and a good idea for schools to utilize, but it seems limited to teachers/employees of the school.

Neither of these programs seem required for a school to grant authorization, but granting authorized to someone without some sort of objective criteria for trustworthiness would be pretty risky, so I doubt many schools will grant written permission to ordinary LTC carriers apart from some very specific risk or threat situation.

So, the final question is whether the school WANTS you to be armed. If not, all the above is moot - honor their wishes.

But, it does seem that being an LTC carrier does permit you to be within 1000 feet and carry in your car through car line, keep handgun locked and secured in vehicle and so forth. That’s a great benefit for LTC. I don’t like doing so just to run in and grab something - any administrative handling of a handgun is risky - and I don’t like the idea of my handgun being in the car, secured or not. I think the school is safer with me carrying than having it in my car. But, that does seem to be the situation.


Nice to know that it is not just me that finds these laws to be completely confusing. When even a lawyer has issues figuring out how to find and follow all these always confusing and often conflicting regulations you know there are some big issues with how these laws are being written and likely an even bigger issue with how they are getting enforced.

I personally feel that schools are a very dynamic and often chaotic environment that does require some extra limitations on who can carry and what kind of training they should have, especially for those interacting in close contact with children on a daily basis. But the laws need to be much clearer and they should provide reasonable pathways to allow properly trained and vetted adults to be on site with easy access to the tools needed to respond to these incredibly rare but incredibly devastating active murderer events.


I am a simple person. Maybe too simple. I let my conscience be my guide. I live in Nevada where gun laws are pretty liberal ( not political). It might be different in states where people fear guns.


It’s particularly troubling that the laws are so opaque considering the extreme consequences of the charges if you violate them. Enhancement by adding gun crimes of otherwise minor and innocent transgressions really puts carriers in serious jeopardy and is a terrible price to pay for exercising a fundamental constitutional (and moral) right. But, I don’t necessarily blame the legislators - many of them are doing the best they can in a very politically charged environment to pass any degree of freedom to gun owners - so, it can create some challenging statutory schemes. The courts need to do a better job striking down enforcements and working on the enhancement charges so that it’s only gun-related felonies or the like where the enhancements relate. As an off-road driving enthusiast, it scares me to think I could inadvertently trespass on poorly marked property and end up in prison on gun charges and lose my license because I broke the law while carrying a weapon. I don’t know where those lines are crossed, but I sense they are really muddy.


A lot of these laws seem to be passed in an effort by legislators to be seen as doing something about a problem. Even if the something they are doing will have no positive impact on the situation and only infringes upon the rights of law abiding citizens. Or they are passed with the clear intention of trying to disarm law abiding citizens rendering them as defenseless as possible. So I would put a fair amount of blame on the legislators passing these confusing laws.

I agree that it is very scary having to spend so much time worrying about being turned into a felon just for crossing an invisible line while practicing a constitutionally affirmed right.


Definitely. The more Byzantine the laws, the fewer the people that exercise their RKBA. The anti-rights states prove that is true. Make the hoops large enough and expensive enough, very few people in those states own and carry firearms compared to states with more liberal firearm rights.


If I’m not mistaken, one of the things I like about the KY gun laws is that if you are a parent picking up your child and don’t get out of the car, it’s OK to have a gun. Of we are open carry and constitutional carry state.